MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will leap into spring this March with activities for the entire family including Fossil Day, the Marshall County Student Art Show, a featured artist exhibit, a lecture and a new craft project at the Discovery Table. All events are free and open to the public.
Fossil fans are invited to visit the museum from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. The biannual event will feature Mitch Blake, manager of coal programs at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown, who will provide expert identifications and answer questions regarding fossil remains. Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pa., and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from West Virginia University. He has worked at the WVGES since 1978, specializing in basin analysis and Appalachian coal geology.
Fossil Day will include hands-on activities for the whole family such as looking for fossils in a sand matrix, making a clay fossil bed that can be excavated during the September fossil day, creating models of fossils and a museum hunt in the exhibit Prehistoric West Virginia. The March 4 date coincides with Moundsville’s Home and Business Expo which is being held at the Old West Virginia Penitentiary across the street from Grave Creek Mound.
Alan Fitzpatrick of Wheeling is the featured artist whose exhibit Ohio Valley Historic Figures will be on display through March 30. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, Fitzpatrick will present a talk, “Faces of a Forgotten People,” and discuss the individuals portrayed in his exhibit. He has long been fascinated by the early frontier history of the Upper Ohio Valley, and he has written four non-fiction early-American history books dealing with the coflict between Native Americans and colonials during the tumultuous late 1700s.
The annual Marshall County Student Art Show will have an opening reception from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 18. The exhibit features a variety of media including drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures created by the talented students from Marshall County’s middle and high schools. People’s Choice awards will be voted on and awarded during the reception. The exhibit will remain on display through April 8.
The museum’s Discovery Table invites visitors to plant grass using native West Virginia seeds that can be planted in cups and decorated to resemble a face with the sprouting grass serving as hair.
March activities will wrap up with the Lecture and Film Series at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 30. Jamie Vosvick, West Virginia office manager and supervising archaeologist for the Archaeological Consultants of the Midwest, Inc., will present the talk “Survey and Documentation of Hampshire County Cemeteries.” Vosvick will show how community involvement was instrumental in identifying cemeteries that have been forgotten and/or destroyed and thus in danger of being lost. He also will address what can be done to save and protect these historic resources. Vosvick grew up locally and runs a branch office of his company in Wheeling. The Lecture and Film series is held in conjunction with meetings of the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archeological Society.
Visitors can tour the newest exhibits, The Buried Past: Artifacts from West Virginia’s Wild, Wonderful History, which showcases a series of West Virginia archaeological sites selected from the curation facility, and Prehistoric West Virginia, which features casts of some of the large Ice Age animals that once roamed West Virginia and an eight-foot tall fossilized mammoth leg, courtesy of Prehistoric Planet.
For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.
Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex features one of the largest conical burial mounds built by the Adena people between 250 – 150 B.C. and ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world. Exhibits and displays in the Delf Norona Museum interpret what is known about the lives of these prehistoric people and the construction of the mound. The complex also houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility.
Admission to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is free. The Delf Norona Museum, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Outdoor access closes at 4:30 p.m., and may be closed all day during inclement weather.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts, Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.